Charles County’s property values have encountered some tough sledding. The melt-down of the housing bubble, the fallout from the robo-signing scandal and an explosion of foreclosures have caused property values to drop all across the country. The housing market is still struggling to correct from the over-inflated boom era vales. Charles County, Maryland has been hit hard in this environment and seen median property values drop for the fourth year in a row. What does this mean for someone interested in moving to the area?  What affect does this steady decline have?

The Good and Bad of Declining Property Values

The key to looking at declining property values is to see that it’s not necessarily negative. Certainly those who whose home values were inflated are facing losing a lot of money. However, when one buys a home, there is always the risk the value will go down instead of up. In the volatile housing market of the last decade, many home buyers bought homes under the faulty idea that home values would always go up.

So now we are seeing a correction to where the market is returning to realistic home property values. To use one example, this presents an opportunity for buyers to buy a home which once sold for $450,000 for as low as $350,000 and to have confidence that this value will hold.

The bad, of course, is felt acutely if one happens to be the owner of a $450,000 mortgage on a home which now has a value of only $350,000. Another negative accrues to Charles County because it must make do with tax receipts on a home that has dropped $100,000 in value. This has led to tight budgets not only in Charles County but for counties across the nation. However, the current problems obscure the fact that Charles County remains an excellent place to live.

The Ground Truth

While property values have dropped for the fourth time in as many years, one has to remind oneself why they were high to begin with. The answer is simply that it was worth paying $450,000 to live in Charles County. Why? There are many reasons ranging from the scenic beauty of the area, to the excellent schools and colleges, to the availability of work in the Washington D.C. metro area. None of these factors have changed. So, in the short term there will be budget issues for city and county politicians to deal with, but the fact remains that Charles County is an attractive place to live.

Viewed from this standpoint, Charles County property values declining means prospective buyers are well positioned to be able to purchase a home and reap the rewards of a buyer’s market.